Video: MSU Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge


STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)–Mississippi State University undergraduate students having come up with alternatives for good sweet potatoes that are not grade A, are engaged in stiff competition.

In an isolated room on the MSU Campus, a half dozen teams are being highly scrutinized as they present their product having that sweet addition to it. The products could just wind up on grocery store shelves across the country.

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“There are a number of sweet potatoes that don’t meet those standards that we are trying to find value out of products for,” said Stephen Meyers/MSU Extension Specialist.

Imagine a feminine hygiene product made using Vardaman sweet potatoes that could eventually wind up in a third world country.

“You can take the sweet potatoes which grow in a tropical climate. And make them into paper products using traditional paper making techniques and very little resources and money,” said Taylor Szasz/MSU Student.

“We have several food based products as well, including power bars. We actually have one group who has developed a sweet potato ale that they’ll be presenting today as well,” said Stephen Meyers.

The products are being evaluated by a panel of judges via webcam. Among the groups,scientists from MSU.

A microwavable Batata Bread that takes just 10 minutes to cook….main ingredient, 63% sweet potatoes. And Panacea Powder can even be carried in one’s purse.

“What it is is a nutritional supplement power and it provides multiple vitamins and minerals and all 9 essential amino acids. So just one serving of it would take the place of your natural daily vitamin or your amino acid if you take a supplement. Anything like that, you’d be able to get all in this one powder,” said Liz Ivey/MSU Student.

“We have an entrepreneurship center here at Mississippi State University that’ll work with the students to help develop their business if they want to pursue their business idea, they can do that. If they’d like to license their product to a company, we are going to help them with that as well,” said Stephen Meyers.

The top team coming up with the Microwavable Bread product got a sweet $2,000 in prize money. Beignet Bites $1,000, and Panacea Powder $500 in prize money.